“Only too soon personal experience and the experience of others teaches how far most men’s lives are from being what a man’s life ought to be. All have great moments. They see themselves in the magic mirror of possibility which hope holds before them while the wish flatters them. But they swiftly forget this sight in the daily round of things. Or perhaps they talk enthusiastic words, ‘for the tongue is a little member and boasteth great things.’ But talk takes the name of enthusiasm in vain by proclaiming loudly from the housetop what it should work out in silence. And in the midst of the trivial details of life these enthusiastic words are quickly forgotten. It is forgotten that such a thing was said of this man. It is forgotten that it was he himself who said it. Now and then, perhaps, memory wakens with horror, and remorse seems to promise new strength. But, alas, this, too, lasts only for a good-sized moment. All of them have intentions, plans, resolutions for life, yes, for eternity. But the intention soon loses its youthful strength and fades away. The resolution is not firmly grounded and is unable to withstand opposition. It totters before circumstances and is altered by them.”

* Søren Kierkegaard, Purity of Heart Is To Will One Thing, p. 62.


  1. John

    Wonderful quotation! Sometimes others have said something better than we could ourselves ever say it, and I think it is a measure of intelligence to acknowledge that fact. Excellent selection.

    It also makes me feel good. After a couple of posts quoting Alasdair MacIntyre and Pascal I was afraid I was getting too geeky even for the blogosphere. It is nice to know I am not alone in laying down the New York Times for a dusty old book now and again.

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